Thursday, May 7, 2015




There’s Money to Be Made

For eight years, Bill wasn’t paid to speak in Nigeria. Once Hillary became secretary of state, he got $700,000 for a single talk.

The last time Bill and Hillary Clinton occupied the White House, it wasn’t easy to identify a guiding principle of U.S. foreign policy. But if Americans allow them to move back in, the former first couple will bring along a standard that is clear and consistent. Based on the evidence marshalled by Peter Schweizer, the new Clinton Doctrine seems to hold that wherever freedom and the rule of law are threatened, wherever corruption reigns and individual liberties are denied—there is money to be made. In such places, big windfalls can accrue to Clinton friends, who are nothing if not grateful and shower donations upon the Clinton Foundation and speaking fees upon the Clintons themselves.
Almost every page of the fascinating “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich” will be excruciating reading for partisans on both sides of the aisle. Mr. Schweizer, a former speechwriting consultant for George W. Bush, will have conservatives trying to imagine a Republican appearing to do so many favors for business allies and getting away with it. Liberals will wonder why they have to nominate someone whose friends and associates are getting rich in some of the world’s poorest countries.
“The Clintons’ most lucrative transactions originate not in places like Germany or Great Britain, where business and politics are kept separate by stringent ethical rules and procedures,” writes Mr. Schweizer, “but in despotic areas of the developing world where the rules are very different.” He then takes us on a world tour of business magnates writing large checks to the Clintons or their foundation and receiving favorable treatment from various governmental bodies—including the U.S. Department of State where Mrs. Clinton served from 2009 to 2013. Where the particular government required to help a Clinton associate was of the less democratic variety, the favorable treatment was sometimes accompanied by Bill Clinton effusively praising the local strongman for his enlightened rule.

Clinton Cash

By Peter Schweizer
Harper, 243 pages, $27.99
Take Kazakhstan, where Mr. Clinton presented himself in 2005 as an ambassador for low-cost treatment of HIV/AIDS. Mr. Schweizer notes that it was an odd place to focus such an effort, since Kazakh infection rates were very low. But the country did have plenty of uranium. And a Canadian company with little experience in the uranium business—but led by a generous Clinton donor—scored a coup when it gained lucrative stakes in Kazakh uranium mines. After a series of deals, the resulting company controlled uranium mines all over the world and was eventually sold to the Russian atomic energy agency. This last deal required the approval of a U.S. government committee that included Mrs. Clinton’s State Department and resulted in Russian control of sizable uranium supplies in the U.S.
The story has generated major headlines, in part because Mr. Schweizer discovered more than $2 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation from the foundation of Canadian mining magnate Ian Telfer, who was among those profiting from the deal. These donations were not reported by the Clinton Foundation, breaking disclosure promises made to the Obama administration when Mrs. Clinton became secretary of state.
The uranium deal is among the biggest, ugliest transactions in the book—not just because of the millions that flowed to Clinton-related entities but also because it gave Vladimir Putin control of much of the world’s supply of an essential ingredient for nuclear energy and weapons. Yet it’s just one float in the global parade of Clinton pals engaging in politically connected investments in exotic locales.

Opinion Journal Video

‘Clinton Cash’ Author Peter Schweizer on the evidence suggesting that the former First Lady and the Clinton Foundation misled Congress, the State Department and the IRS. Photo credit: Getty Images.
In one chapter, there’s Clinton foreign-policy adviser Joseph Wilson joining a company known for striking deals with Sudanese warlords. Then along comes Stephen Dattels, another Canadian investor whose foundation’s donation also was not disclosed by Team Clinton, getting help from the State Department in 2009 for a mining venture in Bangladesh, according to a cable posted on WikiLeaks. And there’s Swedish mining magnate Lukas Lundin, whose organization pledged $100 million to a Clinton Foundation initiative in 2007. Mr. Schweizer reports that the Lundin operation in the Democratic Republic of Congo remained highly profitable thanks in part to the fact that Secretary Clinton implemented none of the key reforms in a 2006 law to promote Congolese democracy that she backed as a senator.
Another high-dollar Clinton Foundation donor, Saudi sheik Mohammed al-Amoudi, derived much of his wealth “from his close relationship with Ethiopia’s repressive government,” writes Mr. Schweizer. And even though State Department staff determined that Ethiopia failed to meet the transparency requirements of a country receiving U.S. aid, Mrs. Clinton granted a waiver.
Not all the benefits of African engagement went to Clinton friends. Some went directly to the Clintons. According to the book, “In his first eight years on the global lecture circuit, Bill had never been paid to speak in Nigeria. But once Hillary was appointed secretary of state, he booked two of his top three highest-paid speeches ever by traveling to Nigeria, pulling in a whopping $700,000 each.”
Far to the northeast, another group was also suddenly eager to hear wise words from the former president. Mr. Schweizer could find no evidence that the royals in the United Arab Emirates had ever paid for a Clinton speech before 2011. But that year the Obama administration designated U.A.E. shipping companies for economic sanctions for doing business with Iran. And just one day before the U.A.E.’s foreign minister met with Hillary Clinton in the U.S. that year, Mr. Clinton was in Abu Dhabi receiving $500,000 for a speech.
One can only imagine how much Mr. Clinton will charge if his wife wins in 2016. But the fact that even liberal media outlets are taking the book seriously suggests that a post-election payday is getting harder to achieve.
Mr. Freeman is assistant editor of the Journal’s editorial page.

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